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Are These 10 Hidden Barriers Blocking Your Weight Loss?

Posted by on Jun. 9, 2009 at 11:39 AM
  • 1 Replies

1. You're a member of the Clean Plate Club

Either way, the food is going to waste—depending on whether you spell it "waste" or "waist," reminds Nancy Braack, a Weight Watchers leader in Omaha. "Put less on your plate to begin with. It's okay to go back for seconds, but you may find that you're satisfied with the smaller amount." And besides, those leftovers could be tomorrow's lunch!

2. You restrict yourself too much

The occasional treat can ward off a binge. In a study of 30 normal-weight women, half were given unlimited access to chocolate and half were told it was forbidden. Twenty-four hours later, the second group was allowed to eat as much chocolate as they wanted—and they ate more than the group who had been allowed chocolate all along. Allow yourself your favorite things every now and then, and savor everything you eat.

3. You want to eat what everyone else is eating

Just because your friend can down a burger and fries for lunch and stay thin doesn't mean you can. Fair or not, some people are simply born with a faster metabolism than others, says John M. O'Brien, M.D., associate professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan Health System. Genetics and certain medical conditions affect metabolism, as well as the amount of exercise you do.

Learn what keeps you at a healthy weight and stick to that. Enjoy the food and the company, and you may find your portion is actually enough.

4. You don't bother cooking for one

You're having dinner solo tonight and it hardly seems worth it to make a big fuss over just you. So you end up grazing, having "just" some cheese and crackers, then some cookies, then maybe some leftover pasta ... until you're stuffed, and still haven't had a proper meal.

Marla Cilley, co-author of Body Clutter, suggests cooking in advance and freezing single portions for those nights when you'll be alone. Another idea is to use a slow-cooker. Throw some ingredients in before you leave the house in the morning, and like magic, there's a hot and delicious meal waiting for you when you get home.

5. You stay heavy so no one will notice you

It may seem hard to believe, but a small part of you may actually want to keep the weight on. "Ask yourself, 'What purpose does this weight serve me?'" says Tom Nicoli, a board-certified hypnotist and author of Thinking Thin. Perhaps you're afraid of having another failed relationship, so you eat to make yourself less attractive to men. If the reason doesn't come to you immediately, meditate on it or talk it out with a trusted friend or therapist.

6. You eat automatically

Your boss reprimanded you, so what else can you do but grab the cookies when you get home? "People tend to get tunnel vision, where all they can see is food" as a response, says Roger Gould, M.D., author of Shrink Yourself. Take a moment to pause and try another activity while you think about what you're feeling, whether it is anger, loneliness, boredom or anything else. Take a nice long walk and many deep breaths. Eventually, if you're not actually hungry, the urge to eat should pass. You will get calmer and thinner!

7. You think you're destined to be fat

"People think because they've been unsuccessful at dieting in the past, they're going to be unsuccessful in the future," says Judith Beck, Ph.D., author of The Beck Diet Solution. "They just haven't succeeded because they haven't learned the right skills."

Learn the skill of sticking to the plan no matter what: Make index cards and keep them in your purse to read when you're tempted. A card might say, "It's not okay to eat this just because I am stressed. If I do, I will feel better for a few minutes, then I'll feel even worse. Instead, I should go for a walk."

8. You feel better when you eat

The brain releases a burst of serotonin and a small moment of happiness when we first bite into something. The problem is, food isn't really what we were craving in the first place. "Once we understand that the candy bar will never hug us or the bag of chips will never have an encouraging conversation with us, we can stop and make another plan," says Leanne Ely, coauthor of Body Clutter. Vent to a pal or take a long bubble bath.

9. You eat when you're stressed

Snacking after a hard day is actually based in biology. Once, our biggest worry was starving to death. Even now, when we're anxious, the body goes into famine mode and you eat to calm yourself. No matter how hard you try to lose weight, your body is trying harder to keep it on.

How can you overcome biology? Practice loving-kindness meditation, says Martha Beck, Ph.D., author of The Four-Day Win. Tell yourself, "May you be well, may you be happy, may you be free from suffering." Put your body in a state of calm with kind words, and that fear—and desire to eat—diminishes.

10. You're waiting until a big event is looming to start a diet

You'll lose that 10 pounds before the big high school reunion at the end of the summer. Or maybe next New Year's? But be aware that pre-event dieting isn't all it's cracked up to be. First, it's easy to put the dieting off until the next event, then the next, then the next. And second, once the big day is through, so is your weight-loss momentum. And there's no proof that starting on a Monday, January 1, or any other special day will make you more successful at weight loss. Why not get going today?

by on Jun. 9, 2009 at 11:39 AM
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by on Jun. 9, 2009 at 5:02 PM

I am definitely guilty of 1, 4, 5, and 6!

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